----Forgive me for the lack of pictures and for the long, deep, sentimental nature of this post, but I felt the need to write it.----
I've been known to say that there are two main types of friends in a person's life. There are friends that are just really really good acquaintances. You may have one or more things in common (kids, hobbies, employment, etc), but if you lost touch for a year or more, you probably wouldn't bother trying to get back in touch with them. If you did it would just be weird, mechanical, awkward. Then there are friends that you may have nothing in common with, but they just know your soul. You could call them at 3am bawling and they wouldn't bat an eye and they'd have the exact words you needed to hear.
I'm blessed that I've had these soul-friends in my life. But I realized when my husband deployed for Iraq from December 2003 until February 2005 that I had no local soul-friends. Granted, soul-friends know no distance....you can (and I did) call them after years of being out of touch and they still know exactly what to say, because your soul doesn't change with life experience. Your soul is static. It may take awhile for your life and your soul to mesh in perfect harmony, but your soul is always the same, leading the way.
So, back to having no local soul-friends. I was used to Mr. Yarnworks' deployments back then. This was the longest though, and my first with a child. I did great the first several months, but towards the holidays of 2004 I began to lose faith in myself. The extended family must have lost faith in me too because we began to argue when they should have been arguing with Mr. Yarnworks. My own extended family was miles away and so were all my tried and true friends, and my soul-friends.
We moved from North Carolina to South Dakota in 2001 when my husband got out of the Marine Corps. Even after 6 years and with the birth of my two children here, South Dakota doesn't feel like home. I miss North Carolina in ways I could never describe that don't have anything to do with friends or family. Those are just the icing on the cake. So with my husband overseas, I felt trapped here with our oldest daughter. She was only 11 months old when he left and was great company, but without a steadfast support system in place, I felt like I wasn't as good a mother to her as I could be.
It was then that I learned who my true friends were. A couple local friends came through for me in ways I can never thanks them enough for. Sharing Thanksgiving dinner with us and getting us out of the house even when I sometimes didn't feel up to it. They know who they are and I truly hope they know how deep my gratitude is. And I spent hours on the phone with friends who are now scattered across the US.
Now as a second Iraq deployment looms and there's a second Yarnworks child in the mix, I find myself wondering how I will survive another year and a half (or, God forbid, indefinitely) without my husband and soulmate who not only knows my soul, but puts up with my cooking! :)
This week, yesterday in particular, a couple of my friends decided to hold up big figurative neon signs that that screamed "We love you and we will help you through anything!" One was with me through the last deployment. One is a new friend who I truly believe already knows my soul. She is strong and disciplined and gracious and beautiful and her soul shines, an enhanced reflection of my own. I think I'm going to be okay.